Noise up your skirt

They're cheap vibrators, around 29 Taiwanese dollars (60p) each. It means that it won't break the bank when noise artist Betty Apple buys a typical number: 40, 80 or 100. Anyway, she says, the cheap and nasty vibrators are the best, as they make more sound.

 The noise from the vibrators is a buzzing sound, like that made by insects. Betty doesn't rehearse - the act starts when the audience are there. Standing on stage, she opens the vibrators and sets them off. She places the vibrators up between her legs and records the sound - not just of the vibrators, but of her screams as well.

The act always ends with the vibrators ceasing to make sound. If they haven't stopped working already, the normal conclusion is that she will physically destroy them. It sparks interesting discussions about machines and sex.

'We are in the machine age', Betty tells La Bouche. 'Machines are traditionally controlled by people, but in this postmodern age, sometimes people are controlled by machines'.

She doesn't think that machines are inherently wrong. 'People should have machines. But remember, you can have a sex toy but you can also have good sex without sex toys.'

'It's erotic sound', Betty reassures us, 'not porn'.

The issue with pornography is that it becomes a performance for the benefit of men. This is about female, rather than male eroticism.

'Why don't I put it inside myself?', Betty asks, rhetorically. 'Why should I act in a way that makes YOU feel sexy. This art is about questioning what is sexy, overcoming male thinking'.


Her analysis is very well thought through. The microphone is symbolic of the male dick and the man takes the microphone (centre-stage), an patriarchal act.

Her act, which combines the sound of the machine and her screams, is noise, not music. She explains the difference for our readers: 'Noise is more feminine. Femininity is chaos. If you do something chaotic, sometimes you find your own order. This is about never trying to control. Like beauty, it's already there. Noise is about a more panoramic, overall feel. It makes you leave your ego. Too much design and order is not good'.

She relates it to sex. 'Music and techno is about giving an orgasm. Noise is about FEELING the orgasm. It's a feminine experience.'

She's not averse to techno, mind - under her pseudonym of Applex Twin, Betty also produces some stonking techno tracks. 

Betty's work is in the tradition of New Media art. She's toured the world with her sound performance: San Francisco, Berlin, Japan.... In each place, she will alter it to reflect the feeling of those places. San Francisco had a more trippy, psychedelic feel, Berlin was more industrial, Japan had a nuclear feel (Betty opposes nuclear energy) with a samurai twist, with a commentary on the subordination of women in society.

Of all those places, the lifestyle of Berlin seems to have inspired her the most. Her Berlin show is online here:

We hope she'll be in London next!

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